OLATHE, Kan. – Johnson County's district attorney was taken back by the news that more than 1,100 traffic cases had been scheduled for the same time on February 6.
"We’ve got a major problem on so many levels because we just can't handle that number coming in at one time," Steve Howe said.
Instead of capping the maximum of 150 traffic cases scheduled on one docket, a glitch in the scheduling system used by the Kansas Highway Patrol kept stacking them up.
Since the first public announcement, Howe's office has been working with people to get their cases settled ahead of time. They've whittled away the 1,100 to 750 cases -- which is still a lot.
"Instead of having one traffic court, we are going to have three open at the same time," Howe said. "I am going to have about six of my lawyers and about a dozen of my staff down there to help the courts."
But it's not just what happens in the court room that will be tricky with that many people. People need to show up early in anticipation of other issues like parking around the courthouse, which is tough on a normal day. Getting through security could also be a mess.
"You get a traffic ticket, it’s not like you have committed a felony. You are just like everybody else. We have all gotten them," Howe said. "We don't want to make it a situation where you lose half a day of work, so we are going to work as hard as we can to make it as efficient as possible to address cases."
Although traffic cases aren't the most serious things that take place in the Johnson County Courthouse, if you have a court date, you still must show up or risk having your license suspended -- or even a warrant issued for your arrest.